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29th September, 2013


As Saga Sapphire transits around the banks of the River Tagus of Lisbon, we were able to enjoy a late sail in with our very knowledgeable Portuguese pilot. Needing to remain on the bridge during the morning meant I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the church service today; however I was confident our Cruise director Miss Tanya Whitehurst would do a fantastic job taking my place and leading the service. As always I was informed the service was graced with our Filipino choir with their angelic voices, who are always much loved by the guests.

We managed to make good time so was able to bring the pilot time forward by some 20 minutes. As we were approaching the port, and I walked on the bridge, I was greeted by what looked like Saga Rose on our Starboard side!!! It was a surreal moment, a blue hulled ship, white superstructure and yellow funnel with blue band at the top. On closer inspection it turned out to be the “Funchal” another well loved ship but from a distance it was as though I was looking at my old ship.

On approach to the berth, the wind was quite fresh so had requested a tug, but it was only on standby and didn’t make it fast as I wanted to put the ship alongside under our own steam to see how the ship is handling since I last sailed on her. She has been fine tuned and everything went smoothly and we were soon alongside.

Docking slightly earlier than expected meant both our guests and crew were able to spend a little extra time ashore to enjoy the beautiful sights. With the first of tours leaving the ship at 12:15 pm on the Arrabida mountains tour, both myself and the cruise team were there at the bottom of the gangway ready to wish all our guests a pleasant excursion. With several guests visiting wine cellars tasting the local Muscatel wine, I’m pleased to report they did in fact all return back to the ship sober. With four full coaches departing the ship the Sapphire remained a tranquil haven for those passengers wishing to remain on board.

Unfortunately we weren’t graced with good weather today however everyone seemed to have enjoyed what this fabulous city has to offer.  With a glass of Senorita comfort in hand many guests despite the weather went out on deck with the cruise team to bid Lisbon a fond farewell.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.